The EQ Difference
- What allows some people to be so trustworthy as leaders and friends?
- What is the â€œsecret ingredientâ€ that allows some people to be balanced, happy, and purposeful in their lives?
- What lets some people make ethical, caring decisions even under intense pressure?
For good or for ill, emotions drive people. Sometimes they drive people to blame and hurt and even destroy. Sometimes they drive people to take care of themselves and others with compassion and wisdom. Everyone knows that sometimes emotions cloud our thinking and lead us into struggle; once people thought the best solution was to leave emotions at the door. Unfortunately this has led people to make other terrible decisions because they are cut off from the compassion and concern that helps them make balanced decisions that build sustainable success.
Now however, we know about emotional intelligence, the key to using feelings effectively. Fortunately, almost anyone can learn the emotional intelligence (abbreviated â€œEQâ€ to play on â€œIQâ€) skills necessary to build more successful relationships at home, work, and school.
Emotional Intelligence is consciously integrating feeling, thought, and action to create optimal results.
-Six Seconds, 1999
Origins of EQ
Many people first heard the term “emotional intelligence” around 1995 with the publication of Daniel Golemanâ€™s best-selling book Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ. In that work, Goleman laid out a powerful case that such factors as self-awareness, self-discipline, and empathy determine personal and professional success. He drew on the work of numerous leading scientists and authors who were working to define and measure the skills of emotional intelligence.
While researchers once said emotions are in the way of thinking, in the last decade, they’ve found that emotions are the key to thinking. EQ researchers are identifying:
- how people affect each other to foster teamwork or dissent, trust or distrust
- why people sometimes react violently — a dangerous combination of fear and anger actually changes the brain
- the scientific basis for understanding â€œgut feelingsâ€ — the neurotransmitters that control brain function also exist in other parts of the body as a “second nervous system”
- how people can make more careful and conscious decisions â€“parts of our brains literally “choose” how to react
In the 1990s other research on human behavior was beginning to demonstrate what many writers, consultants, and other observers had long recognized — that the most successful people were not necessarily those with high IQs, but rather those with highly developed interpersonal and social skills.
Peter Salovey is a Dean at Yale University. Jack Mayer is a professor at the University of New Hampshire. In 1986 the two met at a conference and began to discuss how â€œsmart people could act so dumbâ€ (the discussion was about a presidential candidate who was caught having an affair). Following this inquiry, the two psychologists published the first academic definition of emotional intelligence in 1990, and have continued as the leading researchers in the field. Together with colleague David Caruso, they developed an assessment of emotional intelligence called the MSCEIT (Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test) which rigorously measure a personâ€™s capacity to use emotion as a source of data.
In 1997, a nonprofit organization called â€œSix Secondsâ€ (named because of the length of time molecules of emotion stay in the body) was created to help research and promote best practices for developing emotional intelligence. Six Seconds conducts research, develops learning tools and assessments (including the SEI, the Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Assessment, a tool that helps people put their EQ into action), and certifies practitioners in how to teach emotional intelligence skills. Six Seconds is the largest international network of emotional intelligence consultants, educators, and researchers in the world. Today Six Seconds spans over 50 countries and dozens of economic sectors including: education, health, technology, manufacturing, professional services, and government.
A growing body of educators and business consultants are applying the lessons learned by this research to create real-world solutions business solutions. Emotional intelligence programs are finding increasing acceptance in schools and businesses, and the results are powerful.
EQ and the Bottom Line
Major corporations are turning to emotional intelligence to help them teach their managers and employees how to use inner resources to make better business decisions and create a more open, trusting, and creative work environment. Some companies even have individuals or departments dedicated to raising the level of EQ within their companies or are integrating EQ into their human capital management strategy.
Robert Cooper, Six Seconds Advisory Board Member and author of Executive EQ: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership and Organizations, wrote, â€œEmotions are not only wellsprings of intuitive wisdom, they also provide profitable information every minute of the day. But it is not enough just to have emotions. You have to know how to acknowledge and value feelings in yourself and others and how to respond to them appropriately.â€
In a project with the Sheraton Studio City in Orlando, Florida, a year-long emotional intelligence training program helped increase market share by 24% while reducing employee turnover by 19%. In addition, the hotel increased guest satisfaction by over 8%. In addition to financial performance, the training improved the organizational climate as measured by Six Secondsâ€™ â€œOrganizational Vital Signsâ€ assessment.
One of the most dramatic business-case uses of EQ was a trial recruitment program where the U.S. Air Force spent $10,000 for emotional competence testing but saved $2,760,000 in recruitment costs. They used the EQ-i, an assessment by Dr. Reuven Bar-On. Bar-On is a psychologist who began investigating â€œsocially and emotionally intelligent behaviorâ€ in the late 1980s. He identified 15 competencies that relate to behaving with “emotional smarts,” and extensive research has shown these factors are tied to business performance.
EQ has also been linked to reduced turnover, increased leadership effectiveness, improved sales, enhanced customer service, and higher profit growth. A business case from Six Seconds Institute for Organizational Performance documents these benefits from numerous studies in a wide cross-section of industries.
EQ Goes to School
EQ is proving its worth in academics as well — for example in a recent study, psychologist James Parker found that EQ is a better predictor of college success than high school grades.
In a New York Times editorial, the nonprofit organization CASEL, reported that students in social-emotional learning programs (classes that teach EQ skills) have better grades, less behavior problems, better health, and more life satisfaction than those not receiving EQ training.
The Six Seconds curriculum for schools, called â€œSelf-Scienceâ€ (because it helps children study their emotions and reactions in a scientific way), was first published in 1978. The program helps teach EQ skills such as self-discipline, motivation, empathy and communication. In a pilot study, 100% of the teachers involved said Self-Science improved the classroom environment.
The program is intended to help the students develop practical life skills that they will need to succeed in school and elsewhere. The programâ€™s success in each school is measured by how well students meet their goals, including:
- developing new habits of conflict resolution based on concrete steps
- increasing their ability to recognize options and make choices
- evaluating choices on the basis of their consequences
- increasing their ability to empathize with others
- taking responsible self-action
In his 1995 Emotional Intelligence book, Daniel Goleman identified two model curricula for teaching EQ, one was Self-Science. He wrote: â€œA list of the contents of Self-Science is an almost point-for-point match with the ingredients of emotional intelligence — and one of the core skills recommended as the primary prevention for the range of pitfalls threatening children,â€ he adds.
A typical Self-Science class looks a lot like an excellent reading or even science class. Students discuss concepts, write, and debate. One unique feature of Self-Science is that all the classes include some activity, game, or experience — an experiment — where students test out their theories and practice new skills.
Schools using Self-Science and other EQ programs also commit to improving the ways adults communicate and to building a more positive culture (which is measured through the Assessment of School Climate).
The need for such programs is obvious to anyone who reads a newspaper. Violence in schools is becoming worse and is no longer just a problem for inner city high schools. It has long since spread out to the suburbs and rural areas and is now spreading down to elementary schools. The good news is that programs like Six Seconds do appear to work to reduce violent behavior and improve learning outcomes.
While much of the emotional intelligence research was initiated in the United States, other nations lead the way in implementing emotional intelligence. Among others, Australia, Canada, Singapore, and the UK have numerous programs and practitioners, often with governmental support. Outside of North America, some of the leading researchers on emotions and performance are in Australia, Belgium, and Italy.
Members of Six Seconds founding team have chaired emotional intelligence conferences in South Africa, England, the UAE, and the Netherlands. The Netherlands conference, held in 2006, hosted delegates and speakers from 37 nations. The next conference will be in South Africa in 2007. Six Seconds has provided certification trainings in Singapore, Italy, Venezuela, Mexico, Indonesia, South Africa, and the UK, and delegates have come from over 50 nations.
Source: Six Seconds, The Emotional Intelligence Network (www.6seconds.org)
Download PDF: Backgrounder: Emotional Intelligence